I want to revolutionise Fresher's Fayre and how we join groups within universities.

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DanSimpson97
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#1
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Hi, I've tried to work with my university and student union but it's all painfully slow so I'd like to talk about my ideas with you guys on here and see what you think.

Finding people to socialize with, especially post covid is very difficult for some students. I am horrified by stats saying around "one in five" students have no close friends amoung peers (this is now shifting to one in four). I want to propose something new. Essentially at the start of the year, volunteers or paid staff go round to each accomodation knock on the door and give students a big list of societies and various things they can do around the city/campus. Then leave an email or contact and then people can collate that data and if there is a big enough response help those people set up a meeting date. This would help to create societies and groups for a lot of niche activites. The activity I use as an example is fishing, my city has some nice lakes and I know a student or two that does fishing. There are probably other students that do it (or would like to learn) but as it is such a solitary activity, it's unlikely they will meet or it would ever come up in conversation.

Freshers Fayre works for a lot of people, but there's a lot of people it just doesn't work for, it can be utter chaos and finding the right people to talk to or represent your interests can be very tough, so why not give the students a helping hand? Lonliness is an epidemic amoung the student population that is laregly ignored. I believe that turning heads in the real word and not another app, website or social media a significant step forward to improving the stats.

Let's talk about this. Thanks very much for reading!
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Surnia
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Some students will live off-campus but still local, or at home and commute in; how are they reached?

What things would be listed to do off-campus to cover the diverse range of interests people will have?

How does giving people a list of activities actually encourage them to take part? It doesn't help those who are naturally shy or have social anxiety?

Applaud your efforts, but there's more to consider than just presenting some options.
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DanSimpson97
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(Original post by Surnia)
Some students will live off-campus but still local, or at home and commute in; how are they reached?
I didn't say it was perfect, I just want to make a start to change the current system and add to it as there are so many that never get reached by the current one. I just want the opportunity to prove that doing this will improve student cohesion and wellbeing which I believe it will do.

> What things would be listed to do off-campus to cover the diverse range of interests people will have?

This ranges from town to town, but looking uo local expirience days and facilities I've found is a good start. There are some activities university student can do but unfortunately we never get access to from a campus only perspective. Some that come to mind for me and my town is Snooker, motorsport, fishing and blacksmithing. None of which you can find currently availible from my univeristy but I'm sure people would be interested by umpusle alone if you gave them the option.

>How does giving people a list of activities actually encourage them to take part? It doesn't help those who are naturally shy or have social anxiety?

I'm both of those, from my personal expirience I can tell you that having access to more groups means you are more likely to find one that works for you. Feeling like you belong can be exceptionally difficult for some people. The groups I started with at university were cliques that I found it very hard to meaningfully participate in. However when I looked outside of the campus that seemingly changed.

> Applaud your efforts, but there's more to consider than just presenting some options.

Exactly, this is a starting point. Then we could consider other things to list. I have a stammer that can get quite bad, in my time at univerisity I've only met one other person with the condition but statistiucally there should be about 200 students at my mine that have it. I would love to be presented one such form and tick "speech impediment support group" on one such survey. A bunch of other student run support groups can follow... Quitting smoking, weight loss, cancer, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, spectrum disorders...
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DanSimpson97
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Just wanna bump to see if anyone out there would like to talk. Again, extremely pasisonate about changing the system from the ground up.
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Admit-One
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(Original post by DanSimpson97)
Just wanna bump to see if anyone out there would like to talk. Again, extremely pasisonate about changing the system from the ground up.
Realistically, how open are the uni going to be to completely revising their freshers proposition?

You could be spending a lot of energy for them to have no interest in implementing these changes.
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DanSimpson97
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(Original post by Admit-One)
Realistically, how open are the uni going to be to completely revising their freshers proposition?

You could be spending a lot of energy for them to have no interest in implementing these changes.
Well, coalating the sentiments of students over things like drop outs. Looking at historical data that shows us the constant lowering of the bar to get into these places. If they continue to take lower and lower entrance requirements, less of these people are going to be able to get the full expirence or at least desired expirience indepedantly and will need support. It's all in the numbers and these stats are going to bite them in the arse if they don't do anything.
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Admit-One
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(Original post by DanSimpson97)
Well, coalating the sentiments of students over things like drop outs. Looking at historical data that shows us the constant lowering of the bar to get into these places. If they continue to take lower and lower entrance requirements, less of these people are going to be able to get the full expirence or at least desired expirience indepedantly and will need support. It's all in the numbers and these stats are going to bite them in the arse if they don't do anything.
Doesn’t really answer my question. I already know that you are convinced that change is necessary.

Have you exchanged messages with anyone responsible for freshers week?
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skylark2
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So what you actually want is for them to circulate a list of activities which don't exist within the university but which there are clubs and opportunities for in the local area?

Sounds like a good idea. Assuming they still hand out a list of all the groups at Fresher's Fair so you don't miss out on something simply by missing it in a crowded hall, it could be an additional list on the end.

I don't see any point in "changing the system from the ground up." For a start, your system is much more prone to people falling through the cracks than something which runs for a couple of days that they can go to when it's convenient for them. Oh dear, you were out shopping when the person knocked on your door? I guess you don't get to find out about any activities then, university or local...
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DanSimpson97
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(Original post by skylark2)
So what you actually want is for them to circulate a list of activities which don't exist within the university but which there are clubs and opportunities for in the local area?

Sounds like a good idea. Assuming they still hand out a list of all the groups at Fresher's Fair so you don't miss out on something simply by missing it in a crowded hall, it could be an additional list on the end.

I don't see any point in "changing the system from the ground up." For a start, your system is much more prone to people falling through the cracks than something which runs for a couple of days that they can go to when it's convenient for them. Oh dear, you were out shopping when the person knocked on your door? I guess you don't get to find out about any activities then, university or local...
they can leave the form and it can all be submitted to your nearest campus office etc. Fundimentally the problem is that the freshers fair people just don't have all the information they need or can't convey everything properly when there's little time. I was talking to someone a few days ago, he's a musician like me and if he knew the music society at my place offered a chamber choir he would have taken but he wasn't told about that small group witthin the society so he didn't join it. Instead picture this, you tick "music performance" then you go to a venue and get a very detailed descrition of what there is or get the opportunity to network to assemble something you actually want. I never said I wanted ot get rid of Fresher's fayer just offer more to adapt. The current stats of roughly one in four students having no close friends amoung their peers is apalling. The more you offer, the more likeley you are to get that fixed.
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DanSimpson97
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I'm talking to my university's wellbeing team and they have access to the "Universities Meeting" but I doubt I'll get anywhere.
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vicvic38
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My university has a number of ways you can find out about societies. So firstly they run the freshers fair. Then there are lists on both the university and student union websites that list registered societies, who to contact about joining etc.

Fundamentally though, you can't force people to make friends. You can't force them to come to events. You can run events to facilitate it (subjects drinks and dinners) but you can't force it. I think people today have just forgotten the art of making friends (finding something that interests you and turning up to it a bunch of times.)
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skylark2
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Thinking about this, I think the main problem is that what you want appears to be for university to be just like school. Everyone should have their hands held to make sure they've found their favourite activities. Your friend couldn't possibly be expected to, for instance, go to the music society webpage or Facebook page, or to Google "(university name) choirs", to find out what's available - someone should have been responsible for telling him.

But university is for adults, not small children. The time to start moving to this level of self-reliance isn't after you start at university, it's years earlier - maybe not when you first go to secondary school, but certainly before you go to sixth form. It shouldn't be news to any university student that it's now up to them to organise themselves into leisure activities and that if they want help they are going to have to ask for it.
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DanSimpson97
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(Original post by skylark2)
Thinking about this, I think the main problem is that what you want appears to be for university to be just like school. Everyone should have their hands held to make sure they've found their favourite activities. Your friend couldn't possibly be expected to, for instance, go to the music society webpage or Facebook page, or to Google "(university name) choirs", to find out what's available - someone should have been responsible for telling him.

But university is for adults, not small children. The time to start moving to this level of self-reliance isn't after you start at university, it's years earlier - maybe not when you first go to secondary school, but certainly before you go to sixth form. It shouldn't be news to any university student that it's now up to them to organise themselves into leisure activities and that if they want help they are going to have to ask for it.
I understand that but post covid it's a bit different. My particular university has fumbled a lot in terms of communcating things that are going on. A lot of the socities are completely dead and don't respond to emails because the people who used to run them have left, dropped out or lost interest. However they still appear on the website. Getting more people into more groups keeps all of these societies stronger and more likely to last. Also, it proves a large amount of interest for activites that might be a little harder for the socities to provide. For example there's a world reknown rally motorsport circuit that's a bit of a drive from campus, if 50 or so students responded with interest then it show's motorsport as a viable society. The same with blacksmithing and other stuff that happens around my particular city. My university does not give a damn about budget and spending any kind of money on the social side. Everything gets cut. Even very successful stuff gets cut.

In terms of wanting it to be like school. I think had not been through lockdowns I personally would have been fine in the end but there are other people who are further down the rungs that me that would still have struggled. Universities are lowering their bar more and more for entry. A friend knows someone on his teaching course that only had a single GCSE (it's called "Advanced Maths Skills" I think it's an equivilent). The universities are filtering less and less. Therefore people who aren't prepared for the reality of what it is are invitably going to fall through the cracks. I want to push for a system in which more people can get a better expireince. One in four students is a very sad statistic, I know for a fact it's possible to reduce that.

The numbers can change!
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DanSimpson97
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